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  • wonderandawe
    started a topic What would YOU change in the W:tA setting?

    What would YOU change in the W:tA setting?

    The By Night Studios/5e thread made me play Arm Chair game designer and consider what crazy stuff I'd add/change in Werewolf.

    Garou, Kinfolk, and the First Change
    All Garou are Kinfolk until about the month before their first change. Then the new Garou will go though mood swings, animals beserking in their presence, strange cravings, etc culminating into their first change. The Majority of Garou go though their first change in their teens/early twenties (or equivalent age for Lupus/Metis), however any Kinfolk could change into Garou anytime after puberty and until death. Late life first changes are especially tragic as it could break up families. If the new Garou is in a relationship with another Garou, they are forced to part.

    No one know what triggers a first change. More savage tribes will raise their children roughly, trying to trigger a first change. Below are some correlations for First Changes:

    1. Garou is descended from Great Warriors/Heros (Pure Breed)
    2. Garou has a Garou Parent of high rank (Cliaths and Fostern aren't encouraged to breed until they become Adren)
    3. Garou has an older Garou parent (This may be the true reason for #2)
    4. Garou parent is active in their child's life (Garou are discouraged from "sowing their Wild oats")
    5. The Sept has experienced great losses.

    But really, no one knows why one Kin becomes Garou and another doesn't. It comes down to the Will of Gaia.

    Glasswalkers and effects of having No Lupus Kin
    As the Red Talons have no Homid kin, Glasswalkers have no true Lupus kin. The tribe simply could not keep their wolf kin from being domesticated. However, this lack had a curious effect. Glasswalker Lupus form resembles dogs. While this freaks out the other tribes of the Garou nation, the Glasswalkers see this as an advantage. They are able to walk though a city without causing a wolf panic.

    (Okay, this idea is really out there, but I was trying to think of an equivalent to the Red Talon's "Neanderthal looks." Anyways, I think Glasswalkers, not Bone Gnawers, should have the dog form. )


    What would you change in the setting?

  • Ana Mizuki
    replied
    Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post
    Talons were also mentioned as being dholes in India, which would be another case of becoming a non-wolf canid (they have the same proximity to wolves as the Cape hunting dogs), which you could have been courtesy of the Makara. Where they aren't palling around with Euro-wolves, they seem to be extremely open-minded about the issue of what they are, as long as it's still wild and untamed.
    Which is why I kinda roll my eyes at Talons revised having the Talon-only history chapter have the (wolf) Talons be all 'Kucha Ekundu aren't REAL talons'. Like, you'd think this would be a tribal pride over the rest of the Nation. They are actually putting aside their pride to go where needed, while the rest of the Nation refuses to adapt.

    IMHO, when I tried to think Talons as a more fluid tribe, they came HECK of a lot closer to Gnawers. Which to me tells something about both tribes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Saur Ops Specialist
    replied
    Talons were also mentioned as being dholes in India, which would be another case of becoming a non-wolf canid (they have the same proximity to wolves as the Cape hunting dogs), which could have been courtesy of the Makara. Where they aren't palling around with Euro-wolves, they seem to be extremely open-minded about the issue of what they are, as long as it's still wild and untamed.
    Last edited by Saur Ops Specialist; 03-23-2018, 05:50 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ana Mizuki
    replied
    Black Fox I like you idea otherwise, but to me it has too much human reasoning for Talon behaviour in my opinion.

    For me, every tribe has its good side and bad sides that link together. Shadow Lords are ruthless and use any method they can, but they are also willing to sacrifice more to save Gaia. Silver Fangs are obsessed in purity and have lost touch with the modern way of life, but they record a lot of history and have very ancient ties. And so on.

    For Red Talons, the huge disconnect was always that both the books and some players encouraged the rage ball behaviour, as discussed in this thread. This meant that getting to see the good aspects of the tribe was rare if the player actually could get that far. The virtues of the Talons are how they are willing to go and become other species to protect Gaia (Australian Dingo and African Cape Hunting Dog), something I doubt I have seen any other tribe do willingly (Bunyip aside). They also still hold strong ties to the Great Animal Ancestors, without Silver Fangs' pompousness. So they can adapt and are willing to adapt, yet are portrayed as very static.

    So this is what I have sorta figured in regards to how I write my own Talon's past. Red Talons go where wolves go, or where Gaia needs them. For example, there are Talons living in Pripyat, trying to redeem the land so humans can never come back there. The more land the Talons have, the calmer they are, as well. They aren't really strict with the wolf-content of their members, as the way Gaia made wolves is to take chances where they can. This leads is a waxing and waning purebreed among the Talons, a thing that does not matter to them much.

    In regards to humans, Talons scare them and kill those they see as threats. But their methods can be much more subtle than that, their galliards are prone to spreading stories of monsters, Saints and other mystical things in the woods, trying to dissuade humans from arriving on their lands. They do not care for humanity, but they understand when to wear the human skin for Gaia.

    EDIT: Some additional stuff, since it came to mind;

    Red Talons value family bonds, as such they organize their septs more like large clans than a rigid pecking order. Of course, as with all large families, the 'mothers' and 'fathers' call the shots. It isn't rare to see 'grandfather' elder bossing the cubs to behave instead of the cubs' parents.

    One thing that makes Talons such a huge problem is the 'Red Talon cliath argues with an athro Fenrir/Coggie/Walkers/etc. over things being wrong' issue. This is rarely fun for anyone, especially for veteran players who have seen it before. As such, much less focus should be put into how strict the Talons see things going. Even if the concept of Talons not fitting in is poigant on paper, it doesn't lend itself well to actual play that lasts longer than a week. Worse in online games, by far.
    Last edited by Ana Mizuki; 03-22-2018, 04:30 PM.

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  • Onkwe
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    While the World of Darkness is not our world, it should be recognizably enough like it that someone ignorant of the supernatural should see their world more or less like we do ours. Setting elements that change the world so much that this perspective is not feasible creates problems. Either the ST has to significantly depart from expectations (which creates its own problems) or ends up excising them from the world. Unfortunately this is an issue that crops up all the time in the World of Darkness. STs really need to tone things down, remove certain things, or spend a lot of time thinking how to incorporate it into the setting.

    Red Talons as presented tends to fall in this category which is a shame.

    I think there are several things one can do to keep the feel of the Red Talons while not breaking the setting.

    1) The Red Talon camps really need to be revised. How they are presented in canon should be how the OTHER tribes interpret the Red Talon camps, but it's not how the Red Talons actually are.
    • The "anti-extinction faction"/Whelp's Compromise are basically Red Talons going on rumspringa. Almost all Red Talons go through this, and the tribe finds it is important so that the tribe learn about other Garou and mankind. Regardless of how hostile or curious the individual Red Talons are about humanity, they go through it as a learning experience and while on it, are very good about obeying the rules of other tribes.
    • The Warders of the Land are those Red Talons responsible for keeping mankind out of Red Talon territories. They sometimes kill people, but they also know that killing people brings more people. They are very good at covering up killings, and having alternative means to drive people away so they don't want to enter those lands. Their tactics work well in the deep wilderness with very little people and civilization comfort, but not so well where people are plentiful.
    • The Lodge of the Predator Kings is a mystic society in communion with the spirits of extinct animals, and they are preparing for the Apocalypse when the war against humanity will happen. The Talons aren't stupid enough to think the war should be fought now. It is a millenialist movement within the tribe
    • The Dying Cubs are a secret society the rest of the tribe consider to be Wyrm ridden or at least Litany breakers; if you want Red Talons as the enemy this is what you use.
    2) Red Talons choose to live far - very far - from humanity - generally the unpopulated wilderness areas of northern North America and Siberia. They should not appear in most chronicles with the exception of rare NPCs who visit other septs for the purpose of learning about the other tribes and learning about humans. This is to allow the ST an opportunity for Red Talon PCs, and allow other PCs to interact with Red Talon NPCs. In addition, a small number of packs might also be sent on specific missions on behalf of the tribe. These missions might last a long time, even decades, especially if they are intelligence gathering in nature. This is to give STs a means to have an entire pack of Red Talons as plot devices or antagonists if needed.

    3) The proper portrayal of the Talons should be that of a proud, but doomed people. Their ways were fine for ten thousand years, but the last two thousand years have been very bad for them, and it is only getting worse. That should be the focus when portraying them, not genocidal instincts.

    4) Talons believe humans are inherently spiritually polluting and therefore try to minimize contact as much as possible. They don't go out of their way to kill (and especially not eat) humans because that exposes them to Wyrm taint. Talons believe in spiritual purity and do everything possible to minimize such taboos. The rumspringa period is an exception, and any individuals or packs sent out in the wider world outside of that have access a skilled ritualist who can perform the Rite of Cleansing.

    5) The Red Talons are actually looking forward to the Apocalypse, not because they want the Wyrm to win, but the opposite. They believe the Garou will win, and by winning they'll finally end the threat of humanity forever. They believe the world, and the current society of Garou, is corrupt and unjust. The other tribes have failed, especially their so-called leaders the Silver Fangs. But every other tribe is almost as bad except for perhaps the Wendigo and the lupus of a few others. They believe Gaia will not allow this, and that the status quo will end by a destructive force - most likely the beginning stages of the Apocalypse. That is when, finally, the Red Talons will assume de facto leadership of the Nation because they alone have kept the uncorrupted ways and can lead the Nation to victory. Because of this, the Talons are careful not to antagonize the rest of the Nation too much. They need to keep relations good enough so that they are trusted enough so they can rally the survivors.

    I combine the above with other elements gleamed from actual griffin mythology and legend to round out the tribe and make them more playable while keeping their essentials. I talked about that more on http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/main-forum/the-classic-world-of-darkness/werewolf-the-apocalypse-aa/912624-heretical-thoughts-on-griffin-and-the-red-talons"]a thread located here[/URL].

    The Red Talons have struck me for some reason, but I haven't liked how they've been developed. So this is what I've done over many years to fashion them into something I think fits better.
    I just started reading the Red Talon thread, and this is exactly how I'd like the Red Talons to be. The tribe has been treated too long as unredeamable monsters and almost a parody of what the critics of the game portray all of WtA as. This is the nuance I'd want with them, and it doesn't radically alter anything.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    While the World of Darkness is not our world, it should be recognizably enough like it that someone ignorant of the supernatural should see their world more or less like we do ours. Setting elements that change the world so much that this perspective is not feasible creates problems. Either the ST has to significantly depart from expectations (which creates its own problems) or ends up excising them from the world. Unfortunately this is an issue that crops up all the time in the World of Darkness. STs really need to tone things down, remove certain things, or spend a lot of time thinking how to incorporate it into the setting.

    Red Talons as presented tends to fall in this category which is a shame.

    I think there are several things one can do to keep the feel of the Red Talons while not breaking the setting.

    1) The Red Talon camps really need to be revised. How they are presented in canon should be how the OTHER tribes interpret the Red Talon camps, but it's not how the Red Talons actually are.
    • The "anti-extinction faction"/Whelp's Compromise are basically Red Talons going on rumspringa. Almost all Red Talons go through this, and the tribe finds it is important so that the tribe learn about other Garou and mankind. Regardless of how hostile or curious the individual Red Talons are about humanity, they go through it as a learning experience and while on it, are very good about obeying the rules of other tribes.
    • The Warders of the Land are those Red Talons responsible for keeping mankind out of Red Talon territories. They sometimes kill people, but they also know that killing people brings more people. They are very good at covering up killings, and having alternative means to drive people away so they don't want to enter those lands. Their tactics work well in the deep wilderness with very little people and civilization comfort, but not so well where people are plentiful.
    • The Lodge of the Predator Kings is a mystic society in communion with the spirits of extinct animals, and they are preparing for the Apocalypse when the war against humanity will happen. The Talons aren't stupid enough to think the war should be fought now. It is a millenialist movement within the tribe
    • The Dying Cubs are a secret society the rest of the tribe consider to be Wyrm ridden or at least Litany breakers; if you want Red Talons as the enemy this is what you use.
    2) Red Talons choose to live far - very far - from humanity - generally the unpopulated wilderness areas of northern North America and Siberia. They should not appear in most chronicles with the exception of rare NPCs who visit other septs for the purpose of learning about the other tribes and learning about humans. This is to allow the ST an opportunity for Red Talon PCs, and allow other PCs to interact with Red Talon NPCs. In addition, a small number of packs might also be sent on specific missions on behalf of the tribe. These missions might last a long time, even decades, especially if they are intelligence gathering in nature. This is to give STs a means to have an entire pack of Red Talons as plot devices or antagonists if needed.

    3) The proper portrayal of the Talons should be that of a proud, but doomed people. Their ways were fine for ten thousand years, but the last two thousand years have been very bad for them, and it is only getting worse. That should be the focus when portraying them, not genocidal instincts.

    4) Talons believe humans are inherently spiritually polluting and therefore try to minimize contact as much as possible. They don't go out of their way to kill (and especially not eat) humans because that exposes them to Wyrm taint. Talons believe in spiritual purity and do everything possible to minimize such taboos. The rumspringa period is an exception, and any individuals or packs sent out in the wider world outside of that have access a skilled ritualist who can perform the Rite of Cleansing.

    5) The Red Talons are actually looking forward to the Apocalypse, not because they want the Wyrm to win, but the opposite. They believe the Garou will win, and by winning they'll finally end the threat of humanity forever. They believe the world, and the current society of Garou, is corrupt and unjust. The other tribes have failed, especially their so-called leaders the Silver Fangs. But every other tribe is almost as bad except for perhaps the Wendigo and the lupus of a few others. They believe Gaia will not allow this, and that the status quo will end by a destructive force - most likely the beginning stages of the Apocalypse. That is when, finally, the Red Talons will assume de facto leadership of the Nation because they alone have kept the uncorrupted ways and can lead the Nation to victory. Because of this, the Talons are careful not to antagonize the rest of the Nation too much. They need to keep relations good enough so that they are trusted enough so they can rally the survivors.

    I combine the above with other elements gleamed from actual griffin mythology and legend to round out the tribe and make them more playable while keeping their essentials. I talked about that more on a thread located here.

    The Red Talons have struck me for some reason, but I haven't liked how they've been developed. So this is what I've done over many years to fashion them into something I think fits better.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    As I've advocated before, I think the Red Talons should be refocused as the "overly Wyld" Tribe as a foil for the "overly Weaver" Tribe in the Glasswalkers. Rather than a far too human hatred of humans for the most lupus dominated Tribe, you can keep a lot of their darker aspects without the BS if they've decided that the only way to rebalance the Triat is to spread the Wyld without fear of consequence. Instead of being obsessed with the past and lost, since animals were going extinct without humans doing anything, they anger and alienation gets channeled into bringing new things into the world. Disease, species of pests, crazy hybrids of existing predators suddenly appearing. Humans will survive or perish by the laws of nature, as new things evolve under the Wyld's energetic fury to challenge humanity for dominance of the land.

    It's a bit Ratkin, sure, but hardly the only Tribe to overlap with a Fera, and the Talons would still be based out in the wilderness instead of infesting the cities.

    Leave a comment:


  • Onkwe
    replied
    I would just ignore the pointlessly edgy BS canon Talons do. This doesn't mean ditching the darker aspects of where the themes of the tribe can go, but like with many of the 'asshole' tribes, there was little nuance built into them. The Talons could be a very fascinating exploration of how might animals act if they had the same sense of consciousness and sentience human beings and a few other species on our planet possess, and the hatred and alienation they might feel at being driven into near extinction for the sake of 'human progress', not to mention even among their fellow Garou as homids and metis dominate the other tribes.

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  • Ana Mizuki
    replied
    Originally posted by Uniform Two Six View Post
    And yet for all of the overtly evil stuff, the Red Talons make useful -- even loyal -- allies. There's a great point made in a sidebar somewhere that Wyrm-Taint is emphatically not synonymous with evil. The Talons are not (generally) Wyrm-Tainted, even though a great many of them are pretty evil. But the same could be said for the Shadow Lords. In the Child of Gaia Tribebook, the point gets made that if the Shadow Lords (and presumably the Talons too) are so evil, why doesn't the Nation do something about them. The answer is that they have proven themselves time and again to be powerful allies who can get results -- regardless of the means. Changing the relationship between the Talons and the rest of the Nation, would fundamentally change W:tA, and not for the better. One of the developers made a statement in a little editorial at the end of one of the books that every now and then you need to just stop using the term "Garou" and substitute "werewolf" instead. The Garou can be noble and generous -- but they're still werewolves. Because they're Garou they are touched upon by human morality. Because they are werewolves they are not bound by it.

    ‚ÄčThe characters should have allies whom they wouldn't want to allow within a Texas-Mile of their friends and families. But they must remain their allies, because their enemy is somehow worse. That's the World of Darkness.
    The difference there is, that people still want to play Shadow Lords and see them as interesting. But Red Talons are seen as distruptive, extremely hard to play (if not impossible according to some), mere monsters or if you actually get someone playing one, arguing with Elders because human thing not right. It is not an issue of them being evil and horrible in-universe as much as it is an issue of the tribe being stereotyped or banned. Not due to the content of their tribe, because I have yet to see the Shadow Lord tribe banned from a game. But because to most, a Talon character is nothing more than one that argues with everyone, is hard to understand and can ruin the game.

    As much as this can be blamed on bad players, there is the truth that if the tribe cannot be seen or even considered by anyone as something worth trying to play, there is a problem. This is why the changes in the MET book, making the tribe openly ally with torturers and gain highly increased numbers yet be even more angry, was such a waste for me. A huge part of the Talons belief is that humanity is cruel for torturing and hurting Gaia, as such they kill cleanly. Dying Cubs torturing humans for Gaia is an antithesis to the Talon way. Yet they are now accepted openly. Instead of the writers working on making the tribe easier to play.

    Outside that, I don't myself mind Talons being what they are. I like that they are ignorant of their humanity at parts, I like that they justify to themselves the human killing and I like their culture based on a more primitive way of life. But that is not what most people ever get to see, they see only the human eating Rage ball #345. No matter how cool a concept the Talons are, if getting that interesting stuff in play is hard, then the concept has to be fixed to work better.

    And, again, the issue isn't that Talons hate humanity and don't care about human lives. Shadow Lord and Silver Fang characters do that too and much worse things. The issue is that to play a Red Talon outside a Talon-only game, you have to make so many concensions and even then you are damn lucky if the group's STs even allow them. In addition, most Talon PCs often end up generally seen as boring rageballs that just argue and no one understands them. Poigant, but that burns out the Talon players and the other players to the Talons.

    Leave a comment:


  • Uniform Two Six
    replied
    Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
    Have them put the tribe on trial and have setting wide consequences for the Talons.
    And yet for all of the overtly evil stuff, the Red Talons make useful -- even loyal -- allies. There's a great point made in a sidebar somewhere that Wyrm-Taint is emphatically not synonymous with evil. The Talons are not (generally) Wyrm-Tainted, even though a great many of them are pretty evil. But the same could be said for the Shadow Lords. In the Child of Gaia Tribebook, the point gets made that if the Shadow Lords (and presumably the Talons too) are so evil, why doesn't the Nation do something about them. The answer is that they have proven themselves time and again to be powerful allies who can get results -- regardless of the means. Changing the relationship between the Talons and the rest of the Nation, would fundamentally change W:tA, and not for the better. One of the developers made a statement in a little editorial at the end of one of the books that every now and then you need to just stop using the term "Garou" and substitute "werewolf" instead. The Garou can be noble and generous -- but they're still werewolves. Because they're Garou they are touched upon by human morality. Because they are werewolves they are not bound by it.

    ‚ÄčThe characters should have allies whom they wouldn't want to allow within a Texas-Mile of their friends and families. But they must remain their allies, because their enemy is somehow worse. That's the World of Darkness.
    Last edited by Uniform Two Six; 03-21-2018, 05:39 PM.

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  • Ana Mizuki
    replied
    One thing that I -seriously- do want to change, and which matters to me a lot as a fan of WtA as a complex entity, is addressing Red Talons as a whole. One of the bigger issues I have with the MET book is how it did not change the tribe in a way that would make them more playable for a wider range of people. Instead, they all but painted devil horns and pitchforks on them. Enough that I think the -actual- demons in cWoD would be horrified.

    As Uniform Two Six has multiple times pointed out, some Red Talons eat babies. This is very much a known thing in the Nation, enough that the garou actually -joke- about it. The Red Talons even have rites to avoid big renown losses for the act.

    So, let us actually address this in-setting. Have Judges of Doom get tired of the jokes and do an in-depth investigation of the whole thing. Have them put the tribe on trial and have setting wide consequences for the Talons.

    I would be happy if the tribe was cast out/destroyed from the Nation. Or remade. Regardless, I highly doubt it would affect many games, given how Talons are usually treated in-setting and out of it.
    Last edited by Ana Mizuki; 03-21-2018, 07:44 AM.

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  • Onkwe
    replied
    I was reading Beast the Primordial, and it was giving me some cool ideas for using fomori in new ways. You could bring in a more cerebral element in regards to adapting lairs as mini-umbral realms, interlinked fomori families on a more spiritual level, and even possibly 'wyrm propaganda' by adapting what Beasts believe to be their purpose.

    Any thoughts?

    Leave a comment:


  • Ana Mizuki
    replied
    Originally posted by heinrich View Post
    Okay, I can imagine, although I can't really name any setting where these aspects are as you describe.

    I guess with Everlasting or the Dresden Files RPG such setups are possible, but these games aren't werewolf-centered normally.
    They aren't any published games, more online games that people have made. But those elements are a very common thread in them. Then there are takes of werewolves that are like this.

    My point is, that garou are very different from how werewolves are generally seen and though werewolves differ from setting to setting, garou generally take the concept of a werewolf so far that they resemble a fantasy race than a condition a person gains.

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  • heinrich
    replied
    Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
    That, to me, takes the WtA setting very far from the general conseous of werewolf games I have seen done by people who aren't influenced by WtA at all.
    Okay, I can imagine, although I can't really name any setting where these aspects are as you describe.

    I guess with Everlasting or the Dresden Files RPG such setups are possible, but these games aren't werewolf-centered normally.

    Leave a comment:


  • Onkwe
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    Now I'm thinking a discussion of ronin (and to a lesser degree lost cubs and lunatics) and how they live and operate outside the Garou Nation should have a thread all its own. That way we can brainstorm ideas of not only how to make them a larger part of the setting, but also the ways it can be viable for ronin PCs to be played in a game, whether as an entire group or perhaps even as part of a PC party with more traditional Garou (although perhaps not as part of a pack).

    We could discuss their relations with spirits, alternatives to renown, how they might learn Gifts, and how they might be organized into societies, lodges, sects, etc.

    I'll have to do some thinking before I'd start a thread myself, but I'd certainly contribute if someone else is already raring to go and posts the first thread.

    Yeah, I'll post the thread this weekend and sum up what was discussed here already in the first post.

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